Recently I saw a poster on a wall that read “Sing like no one is listening.” I smiled and thought what a great idea, especially given all the physical, emotional and cognitive benefits singing brings to us. Singing daily by ourselves is good, but singing in the company of others is even better! It seems we only think to do such things in times of social gatherings, during the holidays or when cultural rituals require the merriment of music.
Recent studies have opened our eyes to the therapeutic value of the art of singing. There are programs in Europe that now fund music therapy as a required modality in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Hopefully this will become a growing trend around the world.
When we sing familiar songs associated with pleasant long term memories, wonderful things happen in our body. Serotonin levels increase enhancing feelings of well being. Cortisol levels are lowered decreasing overall stress and anxiety. Blood pressure decreases while oxygenation to the brain and vital organs increases. And of course there is the obvious benefit of lung exercise and improved overall lung capacity.
Additional benefits of singing include: Stimulation of the thyroid gland which helps to balance the metabolism, improved muscle tone of the face, throat, neck and jaw which gives a more youthful appearance, improved coordination between brain and body, and improved mental focus.
So, now that we know how beneficial singing is, and that singing together exponentially enhances that benefit, may we loose the stigma of worrying about how we sound and embrace the “joy” of our voices raised together in perfect harmony as we “sing like no one is listening”!